Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Mayan King's Tomb Found in Guatemala

Maya TreasureArchaeologists digging in Guatemala’s jungle-covered Peten region have discovered a Mayan royal tomb packed with a hoard of carvings, ceramics and children's bones.

Dating from about 350 to 400 A.D., the unlooted tomb, about 6 feet high, 12 feet long, and 4 feet wide, lay hidden beneath the El Diablo pyramid in the city of El Zotz.

It was unearthed in May, but the finding has only just been made public at a news conference in Guatemala City.

The archaeologists, led by Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology at Brown University in Providence, R.I., were investigating the site of a small temple when they came across a series of blood-red bowls. They contained the remains of human teeth and fingers.

Digging through several layers of flat stones and mud, the team finally unearthed a hole in the ground.

“We’d been using a small stick to probe for cavities. And, on this try, the stick went in, and in, and in ... I saw nothing but a small hole leading into darkness,” Houston said.

As a light was lowered into the hole, "an explosion of color in all directions -- reds, greens, yellows," struck the archaeologists.

Perfectly preserved for over 1,600 years, there was a tomb filled with pieces of wood, textiles, thin layers of painted stucco, cord and ceramics.

“I poked my head in and there was still, to my astonishment, a smell of putrification and a chill that went to my bones,” Houston said.

The tomb contained the remains of an adult male -- a king only known from hieroglyphic texts.

“From the tomb’s position, time, richness and repeated constructions atop the tomb, we believe this is very likely the founder of a dynasty,” Huston said.

According to Huston, the king was buried in a traditional dancer's costume, adorned with small "bells" of shell with, probably, dog canines as clappers.

Most likely, his body, which rested on a raised bier that collapsed to the floor, had an elaborate headdress with small glyphs on it.

The archaeologists also found a blade, which they suspect was used for cutting and grinding through bone or some other hard material. Its surface was covered with red organic residue.

Though the substance still needs to be tested, “it doesn’t take too much imagination to think that this is blood,” Houston said.

The tomb also contained the bones of six children, who may have been sacrificed at the time of the king’s death.

“We still have a great deal of work to do,” Houston said. “Royal tombs are hugely dense with information and require years of study to understand. No other deposits come close.”


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